Super Mum … it’s a phrase I’ve been on the receiving end of lately and it’s one that leaves me feeling uncomfortable. It implies a mother having it all, doing it all, taking it all in her stride and not letting children hold her back.
It also suggests a mothering hierachy where some mums are deemed ‘super’, ‘superior’ and some are not. I’ve put it with ‘yummy mummy’ at the top of my labels I want banned list.
Aren’t we all super? Isn’t guiding and loving our children enough?
In the middle of these thoughts burst the furore surrounding the lastest Time magazine cover showing a young mother standing while breastfeeding her (rather large looking) three-year-old while he stands on a stool next to her. Next to them both, the bellowing headline ‘Are you Mom enough?’
Cue the outrage.
And rightly so. Not because of a mother feeding her pre-schooler (although many comments I read were quick to call this unnatural and ‘creepy’) but because yet again mothers were publicly pitted against each other with one provocative, pointed question.
The article explored the rise of attachment parenting and its major tenets – extended breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping – while providing a glimpse into the lives of families who adhered to this method.
So why not leave it at that? Why isn’t the article sold as a case study on a rising parenting trend? Why the embedded challenge to mothers?
Well, controversy sells. And nothing is more guaranteed to raise hackles than suggesting that mothers aren’t doing enough or being enough based on the parenting approach they use.
But you know what? If we choose to say ENOUGH, those hackles won’t rise so quickly and we may just find that we judge ourselves and each other less harshly. Well that’s my theory.
If we all own our parenting choices as being right for us and give all other parents the freedom to do the same, would we be as quick to judge others or feel judged ourselves? Be that by a media headline, or a new acquaintance in a mothers group.
Maybe I dream of a mothering utopia that just isn’t meant to exist but it’s worth a try, hey?
So repeat after me … I AM ENOUGH and so are you … that’s what’s really super.